By Ruth Skinner
A couple of weeks ago, while driving my car, a concerning scene caught my eye. Two civilians were frantically attempting to rouse an unresponsive man lying limp on the ground. Upon taking in the scene, I suspected this was a drug overdose. I felt a strong prompting to go pray for this man; at the same moment, I had a flood of doubts that I could make any real difference in this situation, as well as concern for what outcome I would be exposing my nearly 10-year-old daughter to. However, I decided to go back and do whatever I could to help this man. The traffic was terrible, and the location I was trying to access was challenging, so time was ticking by as I tried to find a place to park my car near where this man lay. When I couldn’t get direct access to the man, I parked behind the building and was able to see him with a fence separating me from him. By now, one of the civilians was doing CPR, attempting to resuscitate him. He was still unconscious and not breathing. A woman called 911. My daughter and I stood at the fence line, continually watching and praying for him. Drug overdose hits close to home for me. I lost a family member last year to a Fentanyl overdose and have another close family member who has struggled with Fentanyl addiction(a horrifying thing when you are aware of the shocking statistics of deaths in Seattle from this drug alone.) So as I looked upon this man, appearing to be deceased, my heart was so broken for him and all those he could be leaving behind. That burden I felt for him became a passion that fueled my urgent prayers; I prayed both in English and in my prayer language. I was petitioning God on this man’s behalf, declaring the name of Jesus over him and commanding his body to come alive in the name of Jesus! Nothing seemed to improve physically, but we continued to press into the Lord and cry out for this man to live. We heard sirens as a fire truck and ambulance pulled up; medics and firemen quickly surrounded the man.
I could no longer see him through the crowd. More minutes passed as we continued praying and watching, unsure of what was happening. Then a man approached me. He told me the man we had been praying for had overdosed on Fentanyl, but he was alive now, and they were preparing to move him into the ambulance. I felt such gratitude and joy in knowing he was alive. As I spoke to this man, a nearby business owner, I learned that drug activity in this area had become a chronic problem for businesses and families here. This man was so fed up with it that his heart had become hard and uncaring towards such cases. He expressed his disappointment that the man had survived, sharing that he would no doubt be out there using drugs in no time. I felt the stark difference between his view of this man and mine. While he saw only a nuisance to be removed, I saw a person of value, a man Jesus died for, someone’s brother, father, or son. I thought of my own loved one who has been trapped in the broken lifestyle of addiction. I remembered him as a child, a generous and sweet kid, the kindness I’ve seen him show others, even in his addiction. To think of someone seeing no value to his life, essentially throwing him away, saddens and troubles me.
For the next couple of days, I felt the Lord speaking to me about this experience I had just had. While I can’t make any specific claims as to whether this man was raised from the dead, I am confident that the Lord directed my path that day. He allowed me to see this scene and feel compelled to partner with His heart for this man by praying on his behalf. I felt the heart of a loving Father who desires that none should be separated from Him, but that each of us would know Him and the depth of His love for us (a love that sees beyond every bad lifestyle choice, every false identity, every stronghold.) He sees the treasure within, the potential, the value in each of us. I am especially thankful for this when I recall how He has looked beyond the dirt in my life to call me into my true identity as His beloved daughter.
My prayer is that we would submit ourselves to the Father’s heart, see the value within each person we encounter, fearlessly love and edify whomever we cross paths with, and engage with the world around us boldly, however God leads. The world needs the body of Christ to be the expression of His heart in our communities or wherever we may be. This is the beauty of the Holy Spirit living within us: He is all we need to make a difference wherever we are. No matter how daunting the situation may be, if you are willing, He will use you. Take courage, be bold in faith, and love radically! You won’t regret it.
A nice reminder thanks.